This is an archived website and is no longer updated. Click here to go to the www.aidan.co.uk home page
EWM Home Page | Aidan O'Rourke on Twitter and Facebook | Contact
 
ON THIS PAGE I PRESENT MORE VIEWS OF THE BATHS, some from 1998, including three QTVR panoramas, and the Turkish Baths which will be re-opened using the £3m restoration prize money.

THE EXTERIOR OF THE VICTORIA BATHS on Hathersage Rd (formerly High St) Chorlton on Medlock, as it looked on Thursday 1 July 1999. Since then, the trees have been removed, revealing the facade.

EWM says: The facade looks much better without the trees.

MERMAID RELIEF on the exterior of the Victoria Baths Manchester. The two semi-clad mermaids are pulling on a fishing net containing starfish and shellfish.

EWM says: The innocent use of the female form to decorate a building exterior would be unthinkable today.

QTVR PANORAMA of the Victoria Baths Males Pool First Class. It's May 1998. We are standing at the rear end of the pool near the original cast iron changing cubicles. Through the ornate arches are showers. Above the pool is the spectators gallery. The pool has been empty of water for over five years now. Pigeon droppings cover the floor area. They have since been removed.

EWM says: Though sadly neglected, the pool retains its original grandeur and parts of the walls even look almost new.

QTVR PANORAMA taken at the Victoria Baths in May 1998. We are standing on the balcony of the 2nd Class Males pool which was covered over to provide a dry sports area. As we can see, water has seeped in through the roof and covers parts of the floor, causing a green mould to develop. Since then the roof has been secured and the floors have been dried out and cleaned.

EWM says: This hall could be put to many uses in a redeveloped Victoria Baths. In the 50's the main pool was covered over in the winter to provide a dance floor. Maybe this area could be used again as a concert or dance hall.

QTVR PANORAMA of the Victoria Baths Ladies Pool, May 1998. We are standing in the middle of the empty pool with our eyes roughly at water level, . At the rear end the original steps which in the main pool were replaced with ladders and handrails.

EWM says: It's interesting to imagine the ladies of 1906 in their elaborate costumes swimming up and down this pool. For most of them this will have been a new experience.

STEREO VIEW of the ladies pool Victoria Baths as it looked on 10 March 2001. The stereoscopic format gives us a strong sensation of the depth and perspective inside the pool, with the row of cast iron cubicles on the right and the empty pool in the lower left. Two pipes jut out in the upper right and upper left of our field of view.

EWM says: You can view stereoscopic images with a viewer or with the naked eye using a technique similar to 'Magic Eye' pictures. For more info, e-mail aidan@aidanorourke.co.uk

'MALES 2ND CLASS' proclaims the words in pale terracotta above the number two entrance to the building, which was originally divided into 'First Class Males', 'Second Class Males' and 'Females'. The City Fathers of the first decade of the 20th century wished to construct a civic amenity which would benefit of all members of society, rich and poor, male and female, though, as was the fashion at the time, the different groups would be kept segregated.

EWM says: The building provides visible evidence of what a prosperous and progressive place Manchester was in the first decade of the 20th century. In the 1920's and 30's mixed bathing was introduced, allowing families to swim together. The closure of the baths in 1993 speaks volumes about the state of affairs in Manchester during the final decades of the century.

THE TURKISH BATHS are located at the front of the building, and appear almost pristine. The tiles are in various shades of green, with yellow and orange tiles at ceiling level. There are two benches on either side for people to recline on.

EWM says: These rooms have something of the appeal of steam baths I've visited in Germany and Hungary. If the Victoria Baths were in Budapest they'd be a major tourist attraction. The proposal is to re-open the Turkish Baths at a cost of £3m. This would kick start the restoration of the remainder of the building.

VICTORIA BATHS CAMPAIGNER GILL WRIGHT shows a group of visitors around the Baths. Gill and the other members of the Friends of the Victoria baths have campaigned for over 10 years to have the baths re-opened.

EWM says: Gill and the others have done a fantastic job! Now we can all look forward to the re-opening of Manchester's fantastic water palace.

VICTORIA BATHS CAMPAIGNERS fly from Manchester to London to attend the final of Restoration. They are just about to board the VLM Fokker 50 for the short journey to London City Airport.

EWM says: A feeling of optimism and confidence turned out to be entirely justified. All will agree that being at the Tower of London for the final of Restoration, and winning the competition, was the experience of the lifetime.

EWM SAYS:The Victoria Baths is not just a superb piece of architecture, a symbol of civic pride and an important part of the history of Manchester - It is a lifeline for people from this area and beyond. For these and umpteen other reasons THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR SUPPORTING THE CAMPAIGN TO RE-OPEN VICTORIA BATHS!

Visit the excellently designed and highly informative Victoria Baths website www.victoriabaths.org.uk. or make a note of the following details:

Victoria Baths Partnership - Project Office: Contact Neil Turton, Gill Wright or Ruth Hudson
Studio 20, Imex Business Park, Hamilton Road, Longsight, Manchester M13 0PL. Tel: 0161 224 2020 (or 0161 224 8437)

Page 1 | Page 2 | EWM home page

Join Aidan on his Manchester Photo Walk.
Eyewitness in Manchester Home Page | Aidan O'Rourke on Twitter and Facebook | Contact